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Mitigating risk has never been more challenging, but today's guest leans on smart data technology, a great relationship with his clients, and over 20 years of working with his very successful firm.We’re excited to sit down today with Amol Dharkalkar, who is Managing Partner and Chairman of the Board of Chatham Financial. He is the Global Head of Chatham's corporate sector and brings over 20 years of experience in derivatives capital markets expertise to the treasury and accounting functions that support client strategies and operations.Amol created the corporate sector at Chatham in 2010. He’s advised some of the largest corporations in the world in the development, execution, and ongoing management of hedging programs across interest rates, currency, and commodities. Amol has also advised both public and private companies across all industries, including real estate, private equity, telecom, technology, industrials, and healthcare, just to name a few.Amol graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelor's degree in both chemical engineering and economics and received his MBA from Wharton at U Penn, where he was a Palmer Scholar. Highlights:Amol gives us an overview of Chatham and the focus of their work (3:10)Chatham's senior team and work culture (4:26)Amol describes Chatham's clientele and target audience (6:13)Amol tells us about one of the most complex cases Chatham has managed (8:03)What success means to Amol as a consultant (9:53)Amol's outlook on the current economic market and the future of interest rates (10:42)Risk mitigation in business and how to plan for interference (13:07) How Chatham has adopted and adapted technology into their work (14:48)How Amol and his team stay up to date on market developments (17:40)Amol says more about Chatham's recent EA market acquisition and partnerships (18:26)Chatham's recent report on the state of financial risk management (20:10)How companies continue to be successful in the changing economic climate (22:36)Amol's thoughts on M&A, and advice for potential clients (24:16)The current election season's potential effects on businesses (26:15)Amol talks about fluctuating currency valuations and its impact on clients (28:52)Future goals and plans for Chatham (30:30)Links:Amol Dhargalkar on LinkedInChatham Financial on LinkedInChatham Financial WebsiteICR LinkedInICR TwitterICR WebsiteFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer, marion@lowerstreet.co.
At a time when everyone is paying more for a lot less, and service is in decline, today's guest is leaning in to added value, and it's paying off in spades. We're sitting down with Bob Wright, who has been President and CEO of Potbelly Corporation since July of 2020. The stock trades under the symbol PBPB. Bob has over 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry, most recently serving as Executive Vice President and COO of the Wendy's Company, where he ran operations for over 6,000 company and franchise restaurants located throughout the US and Canada.Bob has a strong record of business transformation throughout his career where he has leveraged brand strengths to revitalize top line sales and profit growth through marketing system-wide service standardization and quality initiatives. In addition to Wendy's, Bob has served in leadership roles with other restaurant brands, including Charlie's Philly Steaks, Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, and Domino's Pizza.Highlights:Bob's journey to his role at Potbelly (2:44)Bob gives us a history lesson on Potbelly's origins (4:03)What makes Potbelly unique among the competition (5:06)Potbelly's recent menu pivot and the inspiration behind it (6:13)Current plans for franchise development and growth strategy (8:47)Bob explains his outlook on the balance between franchising and company units (11:30)Potbelly's current projects and goals for 2024 (13:18) Brand digitization and new tech (14:53)Bob highlights current brand challenges (15:45)How Potbelly manages their margins alongside inflation and labor issues (16:58)Bob describes the menu features bestsellers (19:26)The team at Potbelly and work culture (21:52)Future expansion plans and locations (24:06)Bob's personal philosophy on leadership (27:25)Links:Bob Wright on LinkedInPotbelly Sandwich Works on LinkedInPotbelly Sandwich Works WebsiteICR LinkedInICR TwitterICR WebsiteFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer, marion@lowerstreet.co.
In an industry booming with customer-focused innovations, it's crucial not to overlook the backbone of an enterprise. Today's guest created a groundbreaking technology that prioritizes health and safety for both customers and in-house staff, that is a critical asset for hospitality businesses as a whole.We're sitting down with Christine Schindler, who is CEO and co-founder of PathSpot, a technology company dedicated to protecting businesses and their customers from the threat of food borne illnesses and outbreaks.An engineer and entrepreneur who is passionate about utilizing technology to overcome gaps in healthcare, Christine invented PathSpot's hand scanner in 2017, following a transformative educational trip to Mount Kilimanjaro. The scanner instantly detects carriers of harmful contamination commonly spread through poor handwashing. PathSpot has now broadened its safety suite to include a comprehensive range of back-of-the-house digital health and safety tools that track temperature, expiration, and more. Christine has a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering and Global Health from Duke University. Prior to founding PathSpot, she assisted with biomedical research for Engineering World Health at Mount Kilimanjaro, and spent two years on the innovation and M&A team at Cigna. In addition to PathSpot, Christine is Founder and CEO at Girls Engineering Change, a non-profit focused on increasing female representation in STEM. She was also featured in Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2021 and Hospitality Technology's Top Women in Restaurant Technology in 2023.Highlights:Christine's background in healthcare and public health (3:16)Christine describes the entrepreneurial influence that motivated her (4:12)The a-ha moment for PathSpot's hand scanner technology (5:09)How the hand scanner technology works (7:00)How PathSpot found and targeted their audience (8:09)Brands that PathSpot works with (9:08)Christine describes PathSpot's safety suite of services and data platform (10:07) The pandemic's impact on PathSpot's newly-founded business (11:50)PathSpot's economic model (13:16)How PathSpot uses their data bank as an ROI feature for businesses (14:03)Christine explains the data PathSpot technology detects, and how businesses can utilize it (15:45)How PathSpot maintains legal regulation and brand compliance(18:55)PathSpot's areas of focus for the new year (20:11)Christine's perspective on the society's mindset on health and safety conditions, post-COVID (20:52)PathSpot's goals and trajectory over the next 10 years (21:56)Links:Christine Schindler on LinkedInPathSpot on LinkedInPathSpot WebsiteICR LinkedInICR TwitterICR WebsiteFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer, marion@lowerstreet.co.
Today, there are countless platforms to reach consumers, but utilizing too many outlets can also fragment a brand's image. Our guest on this episode specializes in strategic brand exposure, providing clients with guidance to target consumers, and maintain a united market presence.We're sitting down with Anton Nicholas, Managing Partner at ICR. Anton just celebrated his 12th anniversary at ICR, and he runs the corporate PR team for all of Consumer, from retail to apparel to food to restaurants to CPG. It's a big practice within ICR, but we've also added a new brand: Blue Engine, an ICR offshoot creative consumer communications agency, and Anton is also taking care of that.We'll dive into Anton's career and his work with Blue Engine, but not before settling an important debate about snack foods...Highlights:Tom and Anton break the ice (2:51)Anton's work background and path to ICR and Blue Engine (4:34)Anton describes the work he oversees at ICR (5:30)How the ICR Lifestyle Lab transitioned into Blue Engine (6:52)Anton explains what distinguishes Blue Engine's work from the Lifestyle Lab (7:52)The acquisition that led to Blue Engine (8:52)Size and scale of the business (10:04) Where ICR and Blue Engine connect, and differ in their approach (11:52)Where the name 'Blue Engine' came from (14:21)The industries and clients Blue Engine is best suited for (15:28)Anton walks through potential hurdles as the business grows (17:47)An example of Blue Engine's offerings through their work with a specific client, and how they handle crises for clients (19:09)Anton answers a burning question from Tom (22:14)Links:Anton Nicholas on LinkedInICR LinkedInICR TwitterICR WebsiteFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer, marion@lowerstreet.co.
In the effort to recover from the impact of the pandemic, the hospitality industry has had a surge of innovation, ideas, and new technologies. And while the boost has been essential to getting the industry back on it's feet, it has also intensified the competition. Today's guest is setting themselves apart with their consumer-focused approach.We're sitting down with Matt Tucker, who is the head of Tock, a technology driven hospitality business owned by Squarespace, and trading under the symbol SQSP. Matt oversees commercial success and growth of the Tock business, which includes a reservation system, table management, carry out operations and events for operators across 33 countries. Matt came to Squarespace after nearly two decades of experience building teams and operating companies of all sizes and has a strong background in hospitality tech and the startup world.Most recently, Matt served as President and COO of Olo, the leading provider of SaaS solutions to the chain restaurant industry, serving almost 90,000 locations. He spent nearly nine years there taking the company from 10 people and one product to a public company with over 700 team members, six core products and nearly 200 million in revenue.Prior to Olo, Matt was on the founding team of LendingTree and was also the founder of Rely Software. He has an MBA from Georgetown and a BA in political science from the University of Michigan. Highlights:Matt's background and path to restaurant software (3:10)Matt describes Tock's founding and current work (4:11)How Tock works in the restaurant to optimize reservations (6:01)Matt explains how Tock targets customers, and the ROI (7:36)Data captured through Tock, and what makes Tock's approach to data optimization unique (11:35)Matt talks about recent economic hurdles and how Tock has navigated the atmosphere (13:05)Matt discusses Tock's versatility in the restaurant industry (15:12)How Squarespace and Tock's work interconnect (16:50)Field competition and the state of the restaurant technology market (19:00)Tock's senior team and their history in hospitality (21:58)Links:Mathew Tucker on LinkedInTock on LinkedInTock WebsiteICR LinkedInICR TwitterICR WebsiteFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer, marion@lowerstreet.co.
Over the last few years, the wavering economy has presented problems for virtually every market. In real estate, rising rates and inflation have challenged buyers and sellers alike. But while wading in those waters, today's guest managed to find a silver lining in their unique investment field. Today, we get to sit down with Matt Fraser, a 20-year veteran of real estate, private equity, and corporate finance. He is the founder and CEO of Jones Street Investment Partners, a multi-family investor with more than 2 billion in assets under management. In this role, Matt is responsible for all aspects of the company's growth, including fundraising, deal sourcing, and the growth of the Jones Street team.Prior to forming Jones Street, Matt served as the VP of Investments and Capital Markets at Taymil Partners, a multi-family owner and operator active throughout New England. Before that, he was a VP at the private equity and venture arm of Fleet Bank, which became Bank of America. Matt received a BA in media studies with a concentration in philosophy, with honors and distinction from Penn State University.Highlights:Matt's background in finance, and the road to founding Jones Street (2:45)Jones Street's humble beginnings and team development (3:47)Matt describes Jones Street's strategic approach to their unique geographic locations (5:17)The status of supply and demand in Northeast / Mid-Atlantic markets (6:48)Cities that Jones Street are currently targeting in their specified markets (10:00)Financing options (11:29)How Jones Street have positioned themselves for the upcoming wave of multifamily loan expiration (12:50) The team at Jones Street (15:39)Where Jones Street fits in the market of multifamily real estate, and field competition (17:00)Future growth and current trajectory (18:48)How Matt approaches other opportunities outside of the multifamily market niche (20:15)Matt's advice to those interested in investing in multifamily properties (22:46)How Matt maintains his prudent focus in the market (24:29)Matt's vision for Jones Street in the next 10 years (25:44)Links:Matt Frazier on LinkedInJones Street Investment Partners on LinkedInJones Street Investment Partners WebsiteICR LinkedInICR TwitterICR WebsiteFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer, marion@lowerstreet.co.
Every investment comes with plenty of responsibility, but in a multifaceted market like sports and entertainment with varied revenue streams and worldwide integration, navigating this complex landscape can be overwhelming. Today's guest is helping his clients make sure that all the bases are covered. Literally. We're sitting down with Charles (Chuck) Baker, who chairs Sidley Austin's Entertainment, Sports, and Media Group. Chuck represents investors in professional sports, businesses and teams, and advises on sports and entertainment transactions. He has decades of experience in the sports industry and has represented sports franchise purchases across multiple leagues, including the NFL, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, the NBA, the NHL, the National Women's Soccer League, and multiple European football leagues.Recently, Chuck represented Genius Sports in its multi-year strategic partnership with the NFL and the Canadian Football League, and also advised on the acquisition minority interest in the Los Angeles Lakers, the Charlotte Hornets, as well as the 6+ billion dollar purchase of the Washington Commanders.Chuck has been highly recognized in the field of sports and entertainment law by multiple national publications. Most recently, the National Law Journal named him to its 2022 list of sports gaming entertainment law trailblazers. The Sports Business Journal also named him to their 2021 Power Players list, and Law 360 added him to their 2020 Sports Betting MVPs.Chuck is an active board member for the March of Dimes and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He is also an adjunct professor and advisory board member at the University of Miami School of Law, and a distinguished lecturer at NYU's Tisch Institute for Sports Management, Media and Business.Chuck was also an associate for former Senator, Dollar Bill Bradley, one of Tom's all time favorite Knicks! Highlights:Chuck's work background and how he came across his opportunity at Sidley Austin (3:36)Secular trends currently driving the sports and entertainment investment market (6:57)Chuck describes the investor audience specific to sports and entertainment (8:55)Current sports markets with high deal flow (11:59)Chuck tells the story of the Chelsea FC deal and his role in the transaction (14:15)The current trend and future of sports investments going international (16:54)Chuck describes Sidley Austin's recent partnership with Arctos (19:11) Market competition, industry saturation, and the market's outlook (22:12)How streaming and entertainment consumption affect media rights (24:18)Women's sports and growing investment markets (26:18)How market developments and investments affect fan experience (27:55)Chuck's most recent wins with his own sports teams (28:46)Links:Charles BakerCharles Baker on LinkedInSidley Austin on LinkedInSidley Austin WebsiteICR LinkedInICR TwitterICR WebsiteFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer, marion@lowerstreet.co.
Providing effective healthcare isn't just about the right treatment, it's a field with many branches, and strong relationships and communication channels are just as essential to providing patients with the care they need. Today's guest has developed a platform to bridge those gaps and facilitate collaboration. Today we're sitting down with Maital Rasmussen, who has over 20 years experience as a global commercial executive and strategic advisor. In her role as chief commercial officer at Octave, Maytel is responsible for leading and bringing the first in market precision care solution in neurodegenerative diseases to patients, physicians, pharmas and payers.She is a leader in the global commercialization of digital health and precision medicine solutions and has extensive experience in growth and value creation of patient centric, data-driven health tech products across multiple disease areas, including oncology, neurology, diabetes, infectious diseases, and more.Maital previously served as Global Head of Marketing at Roche during her tenure there, she defined Roche's personalized healthcare strategy and successfully launched digital solutions globally, positioning the company as a world leader in health technology. Some of her other positions included Director of Strategic and Product Marketing at Oracle Healthcare and Precision Medicine, Vice President of Global Marketing at JPMorgan Chase, and Founder and CEO of Rasmussen Communications. Maital draws on deep insights, fresh thinking, and relationships. She turns great ideas into action and delivers results driven programs without losing sight of the big picture, as so many often do.Highlights:Maital describes her career background, and her transition from tech and finance to healthcare (3:16)Maital describes how the Octave opportunity came to her (4:38)Octave's work, and their unique approach to MS treatment (6:06)Octave's innovative digital platform, and its benefit to patients and physicians (10:41)Maital describes the unique technology in Octave's blood test (12:01)Market competition, and what sets Octave's precision medicine apart (13:10)Octave's relationship with MS research communities (16:24)Partnerships, and how Octave is facilitating collaboration across the healthcare ecosystem (18:17)Maital explains the outlook for Octave and how they allocate capital investments (19:31)The potential for Octave's innovative technology to expand into new disease sectors (21:32)Recent leadership changes and how that will affect the company and Maital's role (23:02)How COVID changed the digital health landscape (24:53)How Octave is collaborating to bridge the gap between patients, pharma, payers, and physicians in the healthcare ecosystem (26:52)Maital's goals and predictions for the future of Octave's platform and research (28:07)Links:Maital Rasmussen on LinkedInOctave on LinkedInOctave WebsiteICR LinkedInICR TwitterICR WebsiteFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer, marion@lowerstreet.co.
As today's guest will tell us, breakfasts have recently overtaken Friday dinners as the number one dining out experience of choice. So in the always-competitive hospitality industry, restaurants that do those meals particularly well are in a fantastic position. Chris Tomasso definitely understands how to excel in this space. Chris is the CEO of First Watch Restaurants, which trades under the symbol FWRG.  Prior to taking the helm in 2018, Chris served as President for three years and as Chief Marketing Officer from 2006 to 2015.  Before joining First Watch, Chris led strategic branding and marketing for renowned national and international brands such as Cracker Barrel and Hard Rock Cafe International.In 2021, Chris was named one of the restaurant industry's most admired C-suite leaders by FSR Magazine. Later that year, he led First Watch into Wall Street with their IPO. Chris earned a BA from the University of Central Florida and is an active alum who currently serves on the University of Central Florida Foundation Board of Directors. He was inducted into the University's Nicholson School of Communication and Media Hall of Fame in 2016. Highlights: Chris describes First Watch's background and market concept (2:57) Competition and First Watch's position in the market (4:08) Chris describes First Watch's business model (6:17) First Watch's unique shift schedule, and why it attracts employees (8:43) Chris' approach to business operations (10:36) Chris describes the importance of remaining in the restaurant atmosphere as a CEO (12:06) How First Watch incorporates developing technology into their business (13:59) How Chris applies his marketing background in his role at First Watch (15:30) Chris' capital allocation strategies (17:21) More on First Watch's disruptive business model, and their strategic market placement (18:54) Chris' view on inflation and its ongoing impact on the hospitality industry (20:28) Chris describes the impact of First Watch to becoming a public company (22:09) How Chris was introduced to the hospitality industry (24:27) Links:Chris Tomasso on LinkedInFirst Watch Restaurants on LinkedInFirst Watch Restaurants WebsiteICR LinkedInICR TwitterICR WebsiteFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer, marion@lowerstreet.co.
During the holiday period, we're re-sharing this very popular episode from earlier this year. If you missed it the first time, definitely check out Tom's chat with Stem's John Carrington!Extreme weather, aging grids, power storage and distribution; these are just some of the challenges that clean energy is stepping up to solve. And companies like Stem are at the forefront, with cutting edge AI-driven services. On this episode we get to hear from John Carrington, CEO of Stem. John leads the energy storage and analytics movement at the company and has more than 25 years of leadership experience in technology, energy, and industrial companies.John came to Stem from MiaSolé, the world's largest CIGS-based thin film solar company, where he was CEO and Director. Prior to that, John was the Executive Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at First Solar, growing the company from 250 million to more than 2 billion dollars in open markets in the US, Asia, and Europe.John also spent over 16 years at General Electric, most recently as the General Manager and Chief Marketing Officer of GE Plastics. He was part of a small executive team that executed on the 12 billion dollar sale of GE Plastics to SABIC in 2007. We sat down with John to talk about his fascinating career trajectory and the huge runway he has in front of him with Stem. Highlights: John discusses how he got his start in the energy field (2:51) How John ended up at Stem, and what the company does (4:39) How Stem fits into the larger energy transition (7:28) John talks about the ground-breaking software that Stem has built and the real-life use cases (8:39) Stem's total addressable market (11:44) How the Inflation Reduction Act is benefiting energy storage (13:16) The ease of "going solar" today (14:40) Stem's partnership with In Charge, an EV charging infrastructure solution(16:17) John talks about Stem's truly innovative approach (18:07) The benefits of being a public company for Stem (18:58) How John is positioning Stem in this challenging economic time (19:29) The key drivers for margin expansion in the next few years (20:49) The backlog for 2022 vs. 2021 (22:01) John talks about his great team (24:08) Stem's approach to capital allocation (25:20) John's outlook for energy storage in the next three to five years (26:31) John's most important mentors (27:49) Links:ICR TwitterICR LinkedInICR WebsiteJohn Carrington LinkedInJohn Carrington, Stem Inc bioStem LinkedInStem websiteStem TwitterFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer, marion@lowerstreet.co.
In a year of uncertainty, one thing is for sure: no one could accuse 2023 of being boring. On this short holiday episode, Tom Ryan, Founder and CEO of ICR, and host of Welcome to the Arena looks back on the highs and lows of 2023, shares some of his top episodes and favorite guests of the year, and his advice for businesses and strategists for a successful 2024. Happy holidays from everyone at ICR and Welcome to the Arena! Look for new episodes and more incredible guests from our team in the new year!Links:ICR LinkedInICR TwitterICR WebsiteTom Ryan LinkedInFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer, marion@lowerstreet.co.
At a time when parents are fighting a losing battle against screen-time for their kids, real world, active and educational experiences are a huge draw. Today's guest is passionate about these kinds of opportunities for kids, and has built an amazing business to fill that need.We're sitting down with Michael Browning, Founder and CEO of Unleashed Brands, a platform company that houses the world's best franchise brands to help kids learn, play, and grow. Michael launched Unleashed Brands in 2011 after noticing a void in the market for parents looking for trusted resources for kids' activities.The company's growing portfolio currently includes Urban Air Adventure Park, Snapology, The Little Gym, Premier Martial Arts, XP League, and Class 101. In 2011, Michael launched Urban Air Adventure Park, the world's preeminent family indoor adventure park, which has since served over 20 million kids annually and generated over half a billion dollars of system-wide revenue.A young entrepreneur, Michael was named a rising star by the Dallas Business Journal in their annual 40 under 40 list in 2021. Having spent years as an entrepreneur, he leads the team with true insight into the challenges that new businesses face as he doggedly pushes the team to look for new ways to overcome obstacles and break down barriers to achieving success.Highlights: Michael on ideation and execution (3:30) What the company does, their current scale and why they’re in their sweet spot (4:05) Some of the brands in the portfolio, and how the business model works (6:13) Why the business model is a competitive advantage, and how it’s been for the franchisees (8:53) Being asset-light (10:30) Their partnership with Seidler Equity Partners (12:05) How they are using data to improve the company (13:54) The decision-making process on what to include in the portfolio (15:50) Who is the customer and why Unleashed Brands are recession-resistant (17:24) What Michael is focused on for 2024 (19:50) Michael discusses the team and his leadership style (21:08) Michael tells us about how the Unleashed Brands Foundation is helping kids, and how his family has gotten involved (23:18) The goals for the foundation in 2024 and later (27:25) Links:ICR LinkedInICR TwitterICR WebsiteMichael O. Browning Jr. on LinkedInUnleashed Brands on LinkedInUnleashed Brands WebsiteFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer, marion@lowerstreet.co.
The sign of a strong apparel brand isn't always about covering every billboard. It's about longevity, steady growth, and speaking the customer's language. And today's two guests certainly know how to do that.On this episode, we're sitting down with Kevin McLaughlin, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of J.McLaughlin, and Mary Ellen Coyne, the company's CEO. Kevin started J.McLaughlin in 1977 with his brother, Jay. They envisioned a timeless lifestyle brand with a legacy of style and a spirit of connection. And they did just that, opening their first shop on 74th Street and Third Avenue in Manhattan. It immediately became the post-brunch destination for the Ivy league, JG Mellon crowd. Kevin's taste and design-sense has guided the J.McLaughlin collection since the first store opened, and he prides himself on creating effortless and enduring styles with a modern twist. Each style is thoughtfully designed with impeccable craftsmanship, original colors and prints and innovative fabrics.  Mary Ellen Coyne is the CEO of J.McLaughlin, and joined the brand in 2016. She oversees all aspects of strategy and operations, including merchandising, product development, marketing, retail expansion, and e-commerce. Under her leadership, the brand has launched new product verticals, including swim and footwear, enjoyed robust retail expansion, and recently launched a brand refresh. Prior to joining the company, Mary Ellen had two decades of leadership experience at Ralph Lauren, where she most recently served as the Chief Merchandising Officer of Polo Women and Children's Division. Her career kicked off in the Macy’s Training Program, and from there, she sharpened her industry expertise with key merchandising roles at Ann Taylor, The Gap, and Victoria’s Secret.J.McLaughlin now has over 170 beautiful stores on the most charming streets in America and true to the McLaughlin brothers' vision, each store is entirely unique.Highlights:Kevin tells how he and his brother Jay started the business in 1977, and who the core customer is (3:48)Mary Ellen talks about why she joined the company (6:31)The store locations, key markets and expansion strategy (8:08)The menswear category as the early foundation of the brand, and how the company approaches their relationship with the customer (10:16)Kevin talks about the role that intuition plays in the company (14:53)J.McLaughlin's philanthropy and their "local and loyal" approach (16:58)Mary Ellen discusses the company's impressive financial performance (17:57)The company's marketing and the role that their catalogue plays in that mix (19:43)New categories and opportunities for 2024 (22:06)Working with Trey Laird to update the company's branding and marketing (25:16)Kevin discusses the expansion and brand awareness he'd like for the company (27:38)Competition, and the profile and shopping habits of J.McLaughlin's customers (29:39)Trends and retail projections for the coming season (30:47)Mary Ellen and Kevin's goals for the next 5 years (32:06)Links:Mary Ellen Coyne on LinkedInJ.McLaughlin on LinkedInJ.McLaughlin WebsiteICR LinkedInICR TwitterICR WebsiteFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer, marion@lowerstreet.co.
On Welcome to the Arena, Tom gets to talk to some  of the most impressive people around, and with today's guest, that couldn't be more true.  An added bonus? Their conversation combines two things Tom is a huge fan of: the NHL and Whisky, so this is an extra special episode.Today we get to hear from Chris Pronger, not just a former professional hockey player, but a Hall of Famer who has been voted one of the NHL's hundred greatest players ever.  For 19 years, Chris was known as one of the fiercest and most dominant defensemen in the history of the league, and was a four-time All Star, a Norris Trophy winner as the league's best defenseman and a Hart Trophy winner, which is the league's most valuable player, and very rare for a defenseman. Chris took three teams to the Stanley Cup Finals as Captain and won it all with the Anaheim Ducks. He was a two-time Olympic gold medal winner for Canada and is one of 30 players in the Triple Gold Club IIHF World Champion, Olympic Gold, and Stanley Cup.Chris is a great family man and a hardworking entrepreneur launching among other businesses, The JRNY, a 100 percent Canadian rye whisky with his brother, Sean. And that's our focus for today's conversation...with a bit of hockey thrown in as well. Highlights:Chris' tells his journey of getting drafted into the NHL (3:14)First impressions of the league and Chris' immersion into his first team (4:44)Chris describes his time on the Anaheim Ducks (6:13)Chris' turn to hold the Stanley Cup (8:24)The most skilled player Chris ever played against (9:07)The greatest player Chris ever played alongside (10:02)Inspiration for founding The JRNY Whisky (11:13)How Chris and his brother landed on the name 'The JRNY' (13:58)How The JRNY is made and what makes it a premium product (15:53)How Chris approached the product's marketing (16:56)Approaching the Whisky and Canadian-Whisky marketplace (18:38)Where to buy the product and business expansion (19:43)Chris' current favorite NHL teams (21:34)Chris' role as a defenseman, and how the position has changed over time (24:00)Links:ICR XICR LinkedInICR WebsiteChris Pronger on LinkedInThe JRNY Whisky on LinkedInThe JRNY Whisky WebsiteFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer, marion@lowerstreet.co.
At a time when customization and a personalized experience have become the expectation, the hospitality industry is racing to keep up with that demand. Our guest today understands that deeply, and he’s driving an innovative business model that is way ahead of the curve. We're sitting down with Barry McGowan, the CEO of Fogo de Chão, an international chain of Brazilian Steakhouses. Barry became CEO in 2019, after serving as President from 2013 to 2018. He has over 40 years of experience in the restaurant industry, including more than 10 years with Brinker International, where he served as COO of Macaroni Grill from 2010 to 2013.Barry also served as President and CEO of Waterloo Restaurants from 2002 to 2010. With his prior experience, Barry brings a broad range of strategic leadership and operational knowledge to Fogo. He holds a B.S. in Hotel Restaurant Management from the University of North Texas, and a Graduate Certificate of Finance from SMU.Highlights: Barry's introduction to the hospitality industry (2:51) Barry describes how the Fogo de Chão opportunity was presented to him (4:20) Fogo's unique background, history, and approach to service (6:19) Fogo de Chão's demographics and how their consumer market has changed over time (8:35) Barry describes Fogo's menu and value model (10:56) Fogo's labor model and how it contributes to their service approach (13:16) Barry explains Fogo's pricing philosophy (16:02) Fogo's outlook and goals for the next ten years (18:52) The investment partnership between Fogo de Chão and Bain Capital (21:58) Fogo's international expansion and growth projection (23:38) Barry discusses Fogo's leadership team (25:11) How Fogo continues to innovate while staying true to their roots (27:07) Barry's favorite items at Fogo de Chão (28:55) Links:Barry McGowan on LinkedInFogo de Chão on LinkedInFogo de Chão WebsiteICR LinkedInICR TwitterICR WebsiteFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer, marion@lowerstreet.co.
It's a huge treat to get the behind-the-scenes stories of the crucial transitions and incredible growth of some of the most iconic companies in the world. And that's why our guest today needed a two-part episode.Last week we shared the first half of my conversation with Ed Garden, Founder of Trian Fund Management and most recently, Garden Investments. Ed was Chief Investment Officer at Trian until May of 2023, and oversaw the company's portfolio management, idea generation, and due diligence activities. He presently serves as a senior advisor.Ed has extensive experience engaging with public company management teams and boards and currently serves on the board of General Electric. He previously served on the boards of Bank of New York Mellon, Family Dollar Stores, Invesco Janice Henderson Group, Pentair, The Wendy's Company and Triarc Companies earlier in his career. Ed worked at Credit Suisse First Boston as an investment banker and BT Alex Brown, where he was co-head of Equity Capital Markets. Ed has a BA in Economics from Harvard. In Part One of our interview, Ed told us how he broke into the investment world, and also shared Trian's origin story. In Part Two, we dive into Garden Investments, as well as Ed's work on various boards, including how he overcame some major challenges at General Electric. Highlights: Ed's approach to first investments (2:25) Reinventing businesses, and Ed's experience on boards, specifically General Electric (5:18) Lessons Ed learned from fellow board members (10:15) How Ed approaches executive compensation as a board member (14:12) Ed's input on the current market and macro environment (16:29) Garden Investments' outlook and mission (18:46) Investors that inspired and mentored Ed (21:30) Garden Investments' values (22:46) Links:Trian Fund Management on LinkedInTrian Fund Management WebsiteTSG on LinkedInTSG WebsiteICR LinkedInICR TwitterICR WebsiteFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer, marion@lowerstreet.co.
Today we're celebrating a big milestone for the show: It's our 100th episode of Welcome to the Arena and we're marking that huge achievement with a 2-part interview with an influential player in the investment world. Our guest today has had an incredible career and our conversation was packed with inspiring stories and insightful advice.We're sitting down for part one of our interview with Ed Garden, Founder and CEO of Garden Investments. Prior to starting Garden Investments, Ed founded Trian Fund Management in 2005 with Nelson Peltz and Peter May. He was Chief Investment Officer at Trian until May of 2023, and presently serves as a senior advisor.As Chief Investment Officer, Ed oversaw Trian's portfolio management, idea generation, and due diligence activities. He has extensive experience engaging with public company management teams and boards and currently serves on the board of General Electric. He previously served on the boards of Bank of New York Mellon, Family Dollar Stores, Invesco Janice Henderson Group, Pentair, The Wendy's Company and Triarc Companies earlier in his career. Ed worked at Credit Suisse First Boston as an investment banker and BT Alex Brown, where he was co-head of Equity Capital Markets. Ed has a BA in Economics from Harvard. Highlights: Ed's upbringing and the role of academia and education (3:17) Getting into the job market, and Ed's first position in investment banking (6:18) How Ed's work in banking influenced his path to starting an activist firm (10:20) Early challenges Ed and his team faced when founding Trian (12:30) The investment approach and strategy taken at Trian (16:05) What made Trian's investment approach unique (17:28) The relationship between capital allocation and capital governance in investing (22:36) What CEOs don't understand about their company's value in the stock market (23:53) How Ed "de-conglomerated" some companies (25:24) What makes investment partnerships difficult in activist investing (28:44) Links:Trian Fund Management on LinkedInTrian Fund Management WebsiteTSG on LinkedInTSG WebsiteICR LinkedInICR TwitterICR WebsiteFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer, marion@lowerstreet.co.
Every successful family business has a good story behind it, but today's guest has an extraordinary one, that's all about innovation, creativity, and loving what they do.Today we're sitting down with Joe Hand Jr., President of Joe Hand Promotions, the global leader in live sports for bars, restaurants, and cinemas. In his role, Joe focuses on fostering lasting relationships and delivering exceptional experiences for commercial customers, helping them drive revenue for their business.For over 35 years, Joe has guided the business, which is now the largest independent distributor of closed circuit TV and pay-per-view programming in the world. Prior to joining his father in the family business, Joe began his career in professional sports as a 10th round draft pick of the Philadelphia 76ers.In 1980, he joined Joe Hand Promotions as a part time team member before going on to create Cable Sports Network, a company that provided fresh sports programming to growing cable systems. He then assumed the role as President of Joe Hand Product Promotions in 1987. In addition to his role at Joe Hand Promotions, Joe's  distinguished philanthropic work includes opening the Joe Hand Boxing Gym in Philadelphia in 1995. The gym is a nonprofit organization which provides a variety of boxing classes to men and women of all ages and ability levels. They offer programs dedicated to disabled veterans, those diagnosed with Parkinson's disease as well as adults and children with disabilities.Highlights:Joe gives some background on the business, what they do for their clients and how they originally partnered with some of the biggest companies in the business (3:10)How Joe Hand Promotions started with Joe Frazier and boxing over 50 years ago (7:09)How the company approaches innovation and how it has evolved since 1971 (10:05)What Joe Hand Promotions brings to the table for their customers (11:23)Analytics and data that help their clients (13:17)The bread and butter of their business (14:23)Going beyond sports events (15:57)How Joe narrows down the events they want to pursue and what their growth strategy should be (17:26)How they think about M and A (18:43)The other companies they have partnerships with (20:33)How COVID affected the business (21:37)Joe tells the story of being an NBA draft pick (24:20)Joe’s non-profit boxing gym and how and why he started it (26:58)Links:Joe Hand Jr. on LinkedInJoe Hand Promotions on LinkedInJoe Hand Promotions WebsiteICR LinkedInICR TwitterICR WebsiteFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer, marion@lowerstreet.co.
When you're just starting out as a business, getting the right support during those crucial early stages plays a pivotal role in whether a good idea can reach its full potential. Today's guest has been providing that expert guidance for many years.On this episode we're sitting down with Ross Fubini, founder and managing partner of XYZ Ventures. XYZ was founded in 2017, making investments in 105 companies across seed and growth stages, and as an organization, they look to support founders who have uncovered a unique insight and show immense velocity in their execution.XYZ is primarily focused on enterprise, FinTech infrastructure, climate, and the public sector. Ross sits on multiple boards, including Sardine and Legion Technologies, and has made several successful early investments currently valued in the billions, including public sector focused Anduril, security provider Verdaka, InsureTech company, and New Front Insurance. Previous to XYZ, Ross co founded Village Global and was an investor at Canaan and Kapor Capital. He is currently an advisor to executives at Palantir with XYZ backing over 20 Palantir alumni as founders across the public sector enterprise and fintech. Highlights: Ross describes where the name 'XYZ' came from (3:05) Ross explains how he decided to focus primarily on early-stage companies (4:29) Financing and investment sizes behind early-stage startups (8:04) Ross describes how XYZ chooses and values companies they invest in (10:02) How XYZ approaches and works alongside changing economic environments (13:28) The importance of transparency and sharing your story with investors (16:41) Current trends in the early-stage start-up market (19:01) Ross gives advice to founders raising capital for the first time (22:00) Ross describes companies XYZ have invested in whose outcome has surprised him (23:47) Lessons Ross has learned from start-ups that didn't reach their full potential (26:36) Links:Ross Fubini on LinkedInXYZ Ventures on LikedInXYZ Ventures WebsiteICR LinkedInICR TwitterICR WebsiteFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer, marion@lowerstreet.co.
Embracing a challenge and going after the big prize is something that today's guest knows all about.We're sitting down with Maud Brown, who is a partner at PAI Partners. PAI is a private equity firm that invests in real economy businesses and manages over 25 billion in assets. Maud heads the firm's U. S. team and oversees investment activity in North America. She's involved in fundraising, deal sourcing, and portfolio company management, including the iconic juice company, Tropicana.Maud joined PAI in 2019 after 18 years at Investcorp where she was a managing director and a member of the investment committee. While at Investcorp, she led the acquisitions of Pro Unlimited, Nobel Learning, and The Wrench Group,. Maud started her career in M& A at Salomon Brothers and Merrill Lynch in London. She grew up in France and holds a degree in business administration from ESCP Business School and a Master’s in Corporate Law from the University Paris XI.Highlights: Maud's upbringing and path to corporate work (2:38) Maud describes what drew her to becoming a professional investor (4:20) Her start at Investcorp and experiencing its growth first-hand (5:10) Maud explains what drew her to the opportunity at PAI (6:52) PAI's history and their mission (10:03) Maud discusses the PAI deal with PepsiCo and Tropicana (13:34) Growth strategy and plan for the recent PepsiCo deal (16:03) Maud expands on a new deal in the Pet sector (18:29) Maud's involvement with acquisition pipelines for investments (20:09) Maud describes the differences in her approach to her work at PAI vs. Investcorp (21:29) PAI's approach to ESG (23:04) Maud's outlook on the current exit environment, and the future of the field (24:55) Where PAI will continue to invest, and what sectors they hope to expand to (26:39) Links:Maud Brown on LinkedInPAI Partners on LinkedInPAI Partners WebsiteICR LinkedInICR TwitterICR WebsiteFeedback:If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producer, marion@lowerstreet.co.
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